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SARS: Centre blames officials for spread

The Centre said Mumbai officials allowed the first SARS patient to leave the hospital even before the tests reports were available.

india Updated: May 01, 2003 16:51 IST

The Centre on Thurday said Mumbai health authorities did not take enough precaution in handling metropolis' first SARS patient by allowing him to leave the hospital even before report of SARS tests was available.

"Health authorities in Mumbai have admitted of committing a mistake by allowing a SARS suspected person to leave the hospital while his samples were being tested for SARS virus," Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Sushma Swaraj told reporters here during a visit to Infectious Diseases Hospital.

The patient on being discharged from Mumbai came here and is still under treatment in this hospital.

"Hospital authorities did not take enough precaution... the patient was discharged before his results were available. But now all Infectious Disease hospitals have been instructed not to discharge patients until they get reports of sequencing test," Swaraj said.

Terming the incident in Kolkata "unfortunate" where hospital staff including doctors refused to report for duty due to presence of SARS patients there, Swaraj said Chief Minister of the state had assured her of all appropriate measures to prevent such incidents.

The Government had obtained 300 special masks from DRDO which were being distributed among the hospital staff of Infectious Disease hospitals in the country.

Swaraj said there was no need to panic. "People need not wear masks while moving on the roads. Only the hospital staff who are treating SARS patients need to use masks and take precaution to be safe from catching the infection," Swaraj said.

First Published: May 01, 2003 15:02 IST